Eugene Wickham Jr.

Eugene Wickham Jr., 90, of Margaretville, died Tuesday, April 22, 2008.
He was born in Millbrook Valley, Arena, the son of Eugene and Mary Wickham.
“Little Gene,” as he was known by friends and neighbors, grew up on his farm, which he later took over and operated, until forced retirement, due to health problems in 1996.
He became active as a volunteer fireman in 1949 and helped build the present Firehall where it exists today, after having to move out of Arena because of the construction of the Pepacton Reservoir.
He was elected fire chief in 1950, and was re-elected for 46 years when he decided it was time to pass it on to someone younger. He remained as a lifetime member of the Arena Fire Department. Gene also served as secretary for the Delaware County Firemen’s Association.
“Gene,” as he was later known by all, served as a councilman for District 4, Town of Middletown. Although this was the only political position he served in, he was always up-to-date on political issues and willing to debate as such.
Gene was a full-time farmer with great compassion for animals. He always found time to patrol for many years for Tuscarora Club, where he got to know many members over the years, who he saw as friends instead of his employer.
He even managed to find time to install electric service and wire for many neighbors’ houses as electric was brought into the valley. When telephone service was introduced, he and fellow neighbors hand-dug the holes for the telephone poles, to run the wire lines out of Arena up the Millbrook Valley.
Gene was always one of the first to be giving to neighbors and friends in their time of needing help. He, like so many farmers, worked long hard hours, but always found some time to stop and talk and offer help whenever needed.
In his later years, he found great enjoyment in watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up.
He was always outside enjoying all animals and birds and marveled at Mother Nature wonders. Books and TV allowed him the luxury to travel to places that he could never visit.
Gene married his wife, Rebecca Hall, on March 28, 1937 and celebrated their 71st anniversary this past March.
Gene is survived by his loving wife, Rebbeca Wickham; his daughter, Marguerite and her husband, Joseph McGonigal; their two children, Vicky and Patricia McGonigal and three great-grandchildren, Brandon, Kelsey and Katie, who all live in Florida; his son, Larry and his wife, Kimberly Wickham and their son, Jason, who live in the Millbrook Valley, Jason is in college at the University of Liverpool, England.
He was predeceased by his father and mother, Eugene and Mary Wickham and three sisters, Hanna Tremper, Pearl Whitman and Marguerite Burrow.
Funeral services were Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Advent Christian Church in Margaretville with the Rev. Harold Patterson officiating.
Burial is in Sanford Cemetery, Margaretville.
Donations in memory of Eugene “Little Gene” Wickham may be made to the Arena Fire Department.
Funeral arrangements are by Hynes Funeral Home, Margaretville.